Sunday, 15 June 2008

My Pattern Competition - The Skirt Toille

Drafting the pattern
The back
I traced off the back block and raised the waistline using the instructions given in Sew Stylish from Fall 2007. I added 6cm at the side seam and the centre back seam. I tapered the side seam of the skirt to take out 2.5cm at the hem edge (I saw a Sandra Betzina video ages ago and I remember her saying something about this being a good amount to take out – I think). Next I added seam allowance of 1.5cm and a hem allowance of 4cm.

The front
For the front I traced a whole front pattern by flipping and tracing the block to get a left and right front pattern. I raised the waistline as for the back except I raised it by 8 cm at the centre front and 6cm at the side. The front seam falls not on the centre front line but 2cm to the right of it, which means I have to cut separate left and right front patterns. The front band will be laid over the right front and joined in together with the front seam, giving the appearance of a fly front without having too much loose fabric or too much bulk in the seam.

Constructing the Toille
I sewed the darts in the back, sewed the centre back seam and inserted a zip (I keep a bunch of recycled zips for this; it makes fittings heaps easier when you’re on your own!).

Next I sewed the darts in the fronts. I made a snip just above the split opening on the left front, turned in the seam allowance and pressed it down (this will be sewn invisibly in the real skirt).

I laid the band piece onto the right front, right sides together and matching the stitching line. I sewed down the stitching line and across the top of the split.

Next I folded the band back along the fold line (a pleat of about 1cm will form on the band piece), lining up the raw edges and pressed.

Then I laid the fronts together and stitched all the way down, making sure not to catch the finished split edge of the left front as I went. The finished result is of a fly front, which actually forms a split at the lower edge.

The fitting went pretty well. The dummy doesn’t do it justice as she is a little smaller than me these days, but I hope you can understand but for reasons of modesty I can't model the toile myself!

The only changes necessary were to pinch in the darts at the top of the front and also taking in the very top of the side seams to make it a bit snugger around my ribs. I also decided to lower the top edge by 1.5cm at the centre front tapering to 1cm around the sides and back. The belt is not the one I'll actually use - I'll have one made, but it is about the right width.

I'll be working on the jacket pattern this week. I really hope it goes just as smoothly!

Sunday, 8 June 2008

My Pattern Competition - The Blocks

I have completed the blocks for my entry into the Pattern Review 'My Pattern' Competition.

First up, the jacket block.

I used Winnifred Aldrich's method for all my blocks. I usually use these as 1. they are metric, and 2. they give a really nice garment. I've used Aldrich on many body types from teeny tiny ballet dancers upwards and I've always found that I get a reasonable fit first time.

All the basic blocks for this project are from Metric Pattern Cutting (3rd edition, revised).

The jacket uses the Tailored Jacket Block, with standard (fitted) waist shaping. I made a straight size 12 as this fits my shoulders well but still has enough ease (I hope) to accommodate my waist and hips.

The two piece sleeve block is from the same book. I cut a straight 12 again and lengthened it slightly.

The skirt block is also from Aldrich. The difference here is I cut it to my personal measurements rather than my nearest size. I followed the instructions for a small waist in proportion to hips - which basically entails increasing the width of the darts to minimise the waist curve. I like this method as it makes the outward slope from waist to hips a bit less obvious.

My next steps will involve tracing off the blocks and constructing the patterns. Then I'll toille the patterns in calico and, with luck, go straight into fabric after that. Of course I'll have to draft my facing and lining patterns once the main pattern is sorted. So, plenty to be going on with!

Friday, 6 June 2008

Inspired by Dior

I am very excited to share my idea for the ‘my pattern’ competition. I am calling it ‘Inspired by Dior’. I searched and searched all week and found heaps of ideas, but I never felt as if any of them were ‘the one’. After spending some time researching 1960’s tailoring, and especially Andre Courreges I finally settled on a coat worn by Carla Bruni-Sarkosky on her trip to the UK with the French President earlier this year. The coat was designed by Dior (as was her entire travel wardrobe – lucky thing) and there are several details that I hope to capture in my interpretation.
I won’t be making a coat but a suit, a jacket and pencil skirt. Here are my preliminary thoughts on how I’ll try to replicate the key features:

The pleated collar – this is the most distinctive detail and it will be important to get this right. On the close up picture it looks to me as if the collar is completely constructed, then pleated and the ends turned under. I don’t like that so I’ll only be pleating the upper collar before I attach it to the under collar.

The fly front – I don’t love fly front jackets. They are fiddly to do up and I really can’t work out how to make it go all the way to the neckline. I don’t really like how the actual coat is constructed here, so I’ll do it my own way. I’ll be making a mock fly front and closing the jacket with covered snaps. I’ll also be putting a mock fly front and front split into the skirt to mirror the look of the coat.

The sleeves - This is really interesting to me and I’m not sure how it will work out. There is a seam down the top of the sleeve; and the front and back upper sleeves are cut in one with the front and back panels of the coat. The problem is that there may not be enough movement in the arm for me. It looks great when posing for photos but I want to wear this to work! I’ll do a trial but sadly may have to abandon this feature. I’ll also have to try out different shoulder pads – I’ll probably have to use raglan ones for the style, but it is hard to get this type of shoulder pad in a smallish size.

Otherwise the jacket is quite straightforward, the centre front panel has a dart and I am guessing there is no side seam, so all the waist shaping will have to go into the princess seamline. I cannot find a back view, but I’ll probably do a normal princess line. I’ll finish the jacket at my high hip (which is my best length for these things) and the skirt will just cover my knee (as usual). I may make the skirt a little high waisted and add a skinny belt but I am not decided on that one yet.

Here’s a picture with some of my notes. I plan to document my processes pretty thoroughly so if any one feels they’d like to have a go at this project too – please feel free. Any questions will also be welcome as it helps me to figure out issues too! Remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question (with the possible exceptions ‘Are you sure you should be eating that?’ and ‘Does my bum look big in this?’).

This weekend I’ll get the blocks done and try to get the first draft of my patterns up and running.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Taking the Plunge

Here is me wearing the BWOF skirt I just finished. Please bear in mind these photos were taken after work and a journey on public transport, which I hope will explain the slightly spaced out /cranky expression!

On to other news. I have finally taken the plunge in a big way. I've been meaning to post some reviews on Pattern Review, but I've always felt a bit shy about it. Anyway, I've decided to enter the my pattern competition that's currently running. The deal is, you have to make a garment from your own pattern (it can be a knock off of RTW, but you can't use a fashion pattern). I love pattern drafting and don't do nearly enough of it... Only problem is, I can't decide what to make! Also, whatever it is has to come from my stash since I'm not buying fabric until June 30 at least (I may have to make an exception for the sake of art though ha ha). I have quite a few ideas, but nothing that has got me really excited. I'm thinking it will probably be something for work although I do have an evening function coming up so maybe I'll do that. It's keeping me up at nights! I hope inspiration comes soon so I can get some sleep.